WATCH: "Donald Trump will fight for this country" - UFC President Dana White endorses GOP presidential candidate

White was speaking last night at the Republican national convention in Cleveland

BY Newstalk 16:32 Wednesday 20 July 2016, 16:32 20 Jul 2016

Image: J. Scott Applewhite / AP/Press Association Images

UFC president Dana White last night threw his support behind Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a speech at the Republican national convention in Cleveland.

White, who along with the Fertitta brothers has overseen the development of the UFC and its sale for $4bn dollars this month, hailed Trump as a "fighter" and said he would fight for the US.

He also spoke at length about his personal relationship with Trump and how the eccentric businessman supported the UFC in its early days. 

"In 2001, my partners [Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta] and I bought the UFC, and it was basically considered a bloodsport. State athletic commissions didn’t support us," he said.

"Arenas around the world refused to host our events. Nobody took us seriously. Nobody. Except Donald Trump. Donald was the first guy that recognized the potential that we saw in the UFC, and encouraged us to build our business.

"He hosted our first two events at [the Trump Taj Mahal], he dealt with us personally, he got in the trenches with us, and he made a deal that worked for everyone. On top of that, he showed up for the fight on Saturday night and sat in the front row. Yeah, he’s that guy. He shows up.

"Donald championed the UFC before it was popular, before it grew into a successful business, and I will always be so grateful to him for standing with us in those early days, so tonight I stand with Donald Trump.”

He continued his speech by outlining three reason why he holds the 70-year-old in such high regard.

"Let me tell you three things that I respect about this man. First, Donald has great business instincts. He supports businesses of all sizes. He’ll make it possible for them to grow and succeed, which is the backbone of a strong economy.

"Second, Donald is a hard worker. This guy is going to get up there, he’s going to roll up his sleeves. He will work with people and he will put in the time to get things done.

"Third, for over 15 years, Donald Trump has been a loyal and supportive friend, and I know that if I needed Donald, he would be there for me, just like he was when I first met him.

"He’s one of these guys that sometimes he’ll pick up the phone and call me and say ‘Hey, good luck with the fights tonight. I’m going to be watching,’ or whatever it is that we might have going on.

"Let me tell you something. I’ve been in the fight business my whole life. I know fighters. Ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump is a fighter, and I know he will fight for this country."

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